I’ve always called him my biological father. My mom called him The Sperm Donor. His mother – my biological paternal grandmother, who everyone called “Nana” – called him my dad.
Of course, Nana also persisted in referring to my sister, as my half-sister, even after I corrected her. And she called my daddy my stepdad, even though she knew he had adopted me.
I never liked that my mom called him The Sperm Donor, but I never bothered to correct her. That would have been disloyal – after all, he was the enemy. He had walked out on us – abandoned us.
Throughout my life, I’ve allowed others to control the descriptors – some have called him my birth dad, my real dad, “that lying bastard that walked out on you and your mom….” The only one I’ve ever corrected is “real” dad, even though my preference is biological father.
Recently, we had to have an adoptive family assessment before we could get the final approvals to finalize Lil Bit’s adoption. She asked how we planned to talk about adoption in the family and I explained that we’ve already started discussing it – we read books about adoption, the boys have all seen pictures of their first moms, and the twins keep asking when we’ll go see the judge so he can give Lil Bit our last name….
She approved of everything except our use of first mom. Her professional opinion is that first mom might be confusing and we should use birth mom instead….
That makes exactly ZeRO sense to me. I can’t fathom how first mom is more confusing than birth mom, but whatever. She’s the professional (and her blessing is required to keep my youngest son forever), so I smiled and agreed to give her thoughts serious consideration.
But that combined with my own experience, got me thinking – who determines what is appropriate, or acceptable, or correct, adoption language?